11/30/11

Review: The Camel Club by David Baldacci

Series: Camel Club, book #1

Published: Sept 1, 2006

Publisher: Vision

Details: Paperback, 624 pages

My Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

After witnessing a shocking murder, the Club is slammed headfirst into a plot that threatens the very security of the nation, full of stunning twists, high-stakes intrigue and global gamesmanship rocketing to the Oval Office and beyond. Soon the Club must join forces with veteran Secret Service agent Alex Ford, who becomes an unwilling participant in one of the most chilling spectacles to ever take place on American soil. It’s an event that may well be the catalyst for the long-threatened Armageddon between two different worlds, and all that stands in the way of this apocalypse is five unexpected heroes.

My thoughts:

I have never read anything by Baldacci before. This book was a gift, and ended up lying on my book shelf for years before I finally got around to reading it. So, it was without any greater expectations (or rather any expectations at all) that I first opened the book. Therefore, it was a surprise when I found myself suddenly drawn into the story, and rapidly turning pages to find out what was going to happen to the characters. Clearly a page-turner.

On finishing it however, it left me with that same feeling (or lack of feeling) I have every time I have watched a hollywood action movie ( i.e. time flies while you’re watching it but the moment you step outside the cinema you’ve forgotten what it was about). In short, this book is a light fun read, pure entertainment but forgettable. I find it similar to the work of Dan Brown, that same type of light fast-paced thriller, ending with cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter and a story involving some sort of conspiracy. The Camel Club is the first book in a series of four, but suffice to say, I won’t be running out to get my hands on the other books. If you´re looking for light and easy distraction, this is your pick. If you want something that will stay on after you’ve read the last page, then leave it at the book shelves.

11/29/11

Review: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Series: Nevermore, book #1

Published: August 31st 2010

Publisher: Atheneum

Details: Hardcover, 543 pages

My Rating: 3/5

My Summary:

Well written debut about cheerleader and an outcast goth guy who are assigned an English project about Poe in school. First half of the book is of them gradually growing fond of each other despite their differences. The second half the book turns horror/supernatural as they are thrown into a dream world interwoven with Poe’s stories. A fuzzily explained dream world drags the grade down. Still enjoyable read.


A few chapters in:

I read various book blogs raving about this book and its wonderful romance, and so naturally I was intrigued.

After reading a few chapters however, I am sceptical. The premise is so similar to other paranormal romances that it almost put me off. Isobel, the heroine, a popular girl and cheerleader, is paired up in class to do a project with this outcast and weird, yet strangely good-looking boy in school. (Heard this plot setting before anyone?) Naturally, she’s horrified in the beginning, but I assume she will warm up to him eventually. I haven’t got that far though, and as I said, I am slightly wary. I hope that their (what I assume to be) growing fondness for each other actually shows. As it is now, it’s been a bit too awkward and weird between them, him not uttering many words at all. Hmm..

It has got great reviews though, and so my hopes are still up for an exciting novel. Let’s see how it plays out..


After finishing the book:

So I finished the book a few days ago, and I’m still not quite sure what to think.

I think I find it difficult to sum it up because I really liked some parts and disliked others. As you know, I started out sceptical, but as Isobel and Varen got to know each other better it got interesting. But then, just as I was getting really hooked, it took a dive into that supernatural dream world and my interest was lost again.

First however, let me point out that the writing is excellent. It is detailed, hence the length of the book, but not tedious like other books I’ve read (see The Pace). The reason why it’s not tedious is because the details make sense. If something detailed is explained, more often than not, that particularly detail is important for the plot later on in the book. Which makes me want to pay attention, because I know I may be rewarded later. So kudos to Creagh for that!

The plot however, as hinted earlier, was uneven. The first half of the book was good in the sense that I liked how Isobel and Varen gradually grew fond of each other. It certainly took some time. Isobel, despite committing social suicide by hanging out with Varen, was surprisingly much more open to talking to him than he with her. Consequently, at the start I was wary of Varen. He was being rude and arrogant for no other reason than for the fact that Isobel was (on the surface) a popular cheerleader. Then gradually we get to know more about Varen and understand where he is coming from. Suddenly his grumpiness made sense to me. Their feelings for each other slowly start to grow into something more – romantic.

But, just as that starts to develop, the supernatural plot takes over. Varen disappears. Isobel somehow ends up in a dream world chasing him and trying to understand how to solve the chaos. She stumbles through one weird surrounding through another, meets a number of strange creatures, her ex-boyfriend being one of them as he visits the dream world as the red death. (Don’t even ask me what that was about – I have no idea!). And all the while the strange Mr Reynolds keeps popping up here and there, helping (or not helping) Isobel with fuzzy advises.

To cut it short, I felt like I was reading a great contemporary novel about two people with different backgrounds falling in love, then got interrupted and thrown into a David Lynch movie where nothing made sense.

Moreover, I didn’t buy the whole epic romance between Varen and Isobel. I understood their connection at the start, but it went from “I think I might like you” to “you’re the love of my life” in two seconds. Like ..wait..what? Did I miss something?

I think I would have like the two of them (Isobel and Varen) to have had a bit more time together in the “normal world” before all the craziness started. And I would have liked the craziness to have been a bit less crazy or at least stayed crazy for a shorter period of time.


The Bottom Line:

All that being said, it’s still a good book, which had me glued to the pages througout some parts. It’s well written with an original story. I can definitely see potential for a good series and it’ll be interesting to see where it is heading from now on. I just hope that we are provided with explanations in the next book so that this dream world makes better sense. Sequel is to be published in August next year.

11/28/11

Review: The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen

Series: No, stand-alone

Published: April 6th 2006

Publisher: Puffin

Details: Paperback, 374 pages

My Rating: 4/5

My Summary:

Beautiful and heart-felt story about Macy who after her father’s death shuts down emotionally. Problem is, everyone else thinks she is fine. This goes on until she crosses paths with the chaotic but warm Wish catering crew and learns to live again. I laughed, I cried, my heart felt with Wes and Macy. In short, a wonderfully told story. And yes, I am now officially a Sarah Dessen fan!


A few chapters in:

I’ve been reading quite a few young-adult novels these last couple of months, and consequently I’ve also come across Sarah Dessen. It’s impossible not to, as she is somewhat of a legend in the young-adult literary market. She has published a number of feel good novels, usually coming of age stories about teen-age girls with various issues. In doing so, she’s created a little following of admirers, raving about her books just about everywhere in the blogosphere. So after reading the 111th five-star review of a Sarah Dessen book, I made my decision. This is it. I’m going to read at least one Sarah Dessen book, just to see what all the fuss is about.

Once that decision was made I only had to pick one of her books. Which didn’t turn out to be so easy. Every Sarah Dessen-fan has a favourite novel – and those favourite titles vary about as much as the collection itself. After reading a couple of reviews and checking the goodreads overall reviewer-grade I finally settled for this one (currently grade 4.29 which is promising).

I am now 100 pages in and I am liking it so far. The writing style reminds me slightly of Simone Elkeles in how easy it flows, detailed but not too detailed, and with a great pace. The characters are likeable and easy to relate too. I got caught in the story almost immediately and am already finding it hard to put it away.

The main character is Macy Queen, also known as the girl who saw her dad die of an heart-attack. Even though one and a half-year has passed, she has not recovered. The problem is, everyone else thinks she has. Instead of fully grieving she put the cap on, and went on about life as if she was handling it fine, not wanting to trouble anyone. Appearance got important, as that was the only thing she could really control in order to convince everyone she was fine. She met her boyfriend Jason, who was as concerned with perfectionism and appearance as her. And all was well, on the surface at least.

Until summer comes and Jason heads off for a summer camp, leaving Macy alone to take care of his dead-boring library job. One day Macy crosses paths with the Wish catering crew at one of her mother’s open house events. They are a mix of craziness, chaos and warmth – all of which Macy has been avoiding ever since her father’s death. But she is tired of living a life devoid of emotions, and decides to take the leap and get to know these people better.

That’s as far as I’ve got but I’m liking it..a lot!


After finishing the book:

Ok, so I’m officially a Sarah Dessen fan. I loved it.

The funny thing is, not much happens in terms of plot. What I described earlier was basically it. Macy shuts down after her father’s death, then meets this new group of people, among them the artistic good-looking Wes, and starts living again.

Yet, it was such a great read. The characters are all so alive and well-rounded I found myself caring for them pretty much straight away.

What I also loved was the relationship between Wes and Macy. In so many YA books I’ve read lately, the romance happens out of thin air, basically one look is exchanged and then boom they are in love. In this book however it’s well founded and it feels real. They get to know each other first, they open up, become friends and first after a while does it become romantic. That’s the way it should be.

It also deals with grief – how we all grieve differently and how it’s important to accept that. And it deals with fears of letting people in - of getting hurt, but how rewarding it can be if you dare to be yourself and let people in. Macy shuts off because she is afraid that other people can’t handle it if she shows them her true self. It turns out others can handle it just fine.


The Bottom Line:

Essentially, this book touches on a lot of truths in life that we are all aware of but that sometimes seems so hard to put in practice. Things such as really talk to people you care about – even if it seems hard.

In short, it’s such a lovely book - sad, funny and hopeful. It made me want to go hugging everyone I care about and tell them how I really feel. Life is too short not to do otherwise.

Also, it made me want to go straight out and get my hands on another Sarah Dessen book, because wow she really is something!

11/27/11

Mini Review: Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Series: Touch, book #2

Published: November 9th 2009

Publisher: Hyperion Book CH

Details: Hardcover, 288 pages

My rating: 2/5

My Summary:

Ok, so the plot in the sequel is basically an exact copy of the first book. Another stalker, more doubts regarding Ben, more questionable admirers, same type of ending. I wish the story had moved forward instead. What I found intriguing in the first book just felt washed out in this one. I may still read the last book Deadly little games, to see if it gets better.

11/26/11

Review: Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Series: Touch, book #1

Published: December 16th 2008

Publisher: Hyperion

Details: Hardcover, 252 pages

My rating: 3/5

My Summary:

Similar plot to Twilight, as in girl gets rescued by mysterious boy in near car accident at the school parking lot, then is teamed up as lab partners with said boy, who acts strange around her. But despite the similarities, it holds its own, because it is well written, with witty dialogue and with a very likable heroine. I really enjoyed this book. Sequel is called Deadly little lies.

My Full Review:

I heard from other reviewers that this book was a real page-turner. Which is exactly what it was. I read it in one sitting, and that was not my intention when I sat down with it.

When I first started reading it I was struck by the similarities to Twilight. Camelia, the heroine is saved in a near car accident at the school parking lot by a mysterious guy, then teamed up with said guy as lab partners in class. This guy, Ben, is mysterious and an outcast in school. And all though not vampire, he’s got this whole “if I get too close to you I might kill you” kind of thing going on. Pretty much like Twilight.

Yet, somehow it works, and I got sucked into the story anyway. A number of reasons to this:

Firstly, I liked the heroine. She’s witty, tough and has got a reasonable voice. I could feel myself agreeing with most of her decisions. Except for possibly putting herself into the most dangerous situations, but I guess there would be no story otherwise. I also grew fond of her two friends, real funny the way they kept bickering at each other.

There is also a stalker following Camelia, and his diary notes are inserted here and there so that we get to follow his twisted thoughts. That was really creepy and had me on the edge of my seat most of the time. The identity of the stalker is unknown. Of course, seeing as the weird phone calls and letters start about the same time as Ben arrives at her school makes Ben a primary suspect. Yet, we don’t know until the very end, and I for one, was surprised to find out who it was.

The one thing where it may have been lacking slightly for me was the chemistry between Camelia and Ben. Seeing as we don’t get to know that much about Ben it’s hard to follow how they are so connected. I didn’t feel it. Maybe it develops into something more in the following books. I hope so.

Ben’s strange abilities are also somewhat fuzzily explained, and I didn’t completely understand why it was so dangerous for him to be touching Camelia.

Nevertheless, because of great suspense and a likeable heroine I still enjoyed reading this first installment of the Touch series, and I will probably read the sequel Deadly Little Lies soon.

11/25/11

Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Series: Gemma Doyle, book #1

Published: July 4th 2005

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

Details: Hardcover, 403 pages

My Rating: 1/5

My Summary:

About Gemma, who after her mothers death is sent to a boarding school in Victorian England, where she befriends a group of girls with whom she starts a secret club and uses forbidden magic to enter a magical world. For me it lacked in characterization, none of the characters were likable, and so I didn’t care about the book. Possibly ok for teens.

A few chapters in:

Harry Potter for girls. That’s how some people have described this book. I have also heard it’s very young adult – as in – you may need to actually be in your teens to appreciate this book. In short, I’ve heard a lot of various opinions of this series, some less flattering than others. But seeing as it’s recommended by a huge amount of people, and seeming similar to Harry Potter (which I loved), I thought I might as well check it out.

I am now 100 pages in, and I’m stricken by how similar this is to Immortal (note that Libba Bray published a few years previous to Immortal). We have a grief-stricken girl, arriving at a haunting, old private school, not getting the warmest welcome. The click of popular girls treat her badly, and her only friend so far is her room-mate who is a plain and ordinary girl, also poor and an outcast as she was sent there on a scholarship. There is a necklace, passed on from the dead (or sick) family member, which seems to hold secrets in regards to the heroine’s hidden powers. There is also a diary, written by someone else entirely, who experienced the same confusing powers as the heroine, but years previously. Oh, and there are visions as well, and strange dreams. And not to forget, a dark mysterious boy who lingers in the area, watching our heroine, but with unknown intentions.

Did I miss anything? That’s as far as I’ve got, but the premise really does share some striking similarities with Immortal, just saying.

Am I liking it so far? Sort of. I’m not completely captured, possibly because it got me bored reading the same story yet again. I also understand reviewers saying it’s aimed towards young adult only. It feels as if I may be too old for the target audience here. That being said, it’s well written, and I have a feeling it might get better. Let’s see what happens..

After finishing the book:

So what can I say? I wasn’t captured in the beginning and I’m sorry to say it stayed that way throughout the novel.

As I said earlier, Gemma the protagonist is sent to a boarding school in England after her mother’s death. There, she befriends three other girls and they form a secret club, first as a joke but as Gemma’s powers are revealed, it grows into something far more serious and eventually spirals out of control.

So why did it not capture me? I have one word for that: characterization. I didn’t care one bit for Gemma or neither one her three friends. They were immature, stupid and irresponsible, all of which I could have forgiven them in the beginning seeing as they were only teenagers. But there is no growth! Gemma keeps trusting these girls, and I can’t for one understand why, seeing as how they behave in various situations in the book (torturing an animal and having their best teacher at school fired among other things). Gemma might be a nice girl but she is too weak. She seems to know right from wrong, but keeps making stupid decisions anyway due to peer pressure (basically whenever the other girls whine).

It’s hard to care about the book when you are not invested into neither one of the main characters. I’m all for rounded characters portraying both good and bad traits, but these girls seemed to portray flaws exclusively. I would have loved for these four girls to eventually bond and care for each other as in a true friendship. That never realized though as they were all too absorbed into their own personal goals to truly care about one another.

There is also a weird sort of romance in the book, made up almost entirely by sensual dreams. I’m not sure of why Gemma starts dreaming about Kartrik, seeing as they don’t share one single good moment together. He’s basically threatening her or being plain rude every time they meet. There is also not much of an explanation to why Kartrik made the effort to follow Gemma from India, and incorporate himself into a Gipsy community in her proximity, just to be able to watch her and advise her not to do magic. It seemed a bit too far-fetched to me, but sure, maybe there are explanations in the following two books, what do I know?

The ending fell flat as well. I don’t even think I fully comprehended it. Why was the villain suddenly defeated? What happened? There was a lot of rushing and swivelling and then suddenly Gemma got away. Or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention, because to be honest, at that point I had all but given up on the book.

The Bottom Line:

All this being said, and to Bray’s defence, I may be too old for the target audience. Or rather, I know for a fact that I am. If I had read this book at say, the age of 14, chances are I would have loved it. But as it was now, at the age of 33, this book did not deliver. I won’t continue the series.

11/24/11

Review: Immortal by Gillian Shields

Series: Immortal, book #1

Published: August 4th 2009

Publisher: HarperTeen

Details: Hardcover, 368 pages

My rating: DNF

My summary:

Don’t waste your time. It had a good premise about a girl who is sent to strange and haunting private school Wyldcliffe and meets mysterious boy. But the writing is poor, the characters one-dimensional and the plot predictable and full of holes. I never got into the story, and couldn’t care less what happened, not even towards the end. Possibly ok for teens under 15.

Synopsis:

Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.

Evie’s only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie’s feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.

Gillian Shields’s electrifying tale will dazzle readers with suspense, mysticism, and romance.

My thoughts:

I feel terrible for what I am about to say, but there’s no way around it. I did not like this book.

I actually had a bad feeling about this one only one or two chapters in. It starts with the heroine Evie arriving to Wyldcliffe boarding school, and in the first two chapters her background information is thrown in, meaning all the events leading up to her being sent there are explained in between the lines. Usually that type of info is weaved into the story so that I hardly even notice it’s there. Here it was done in such a clunky way that it felt as if lights went on blinking – background info coming!! – every time anything was added, detaching me from the story because of the sheer clunkiness of it.

But I kept reading..don’t ask me why but I did.

About the plot. Well, it has been done before. Girl arrives at a boarding school after the loss (or sickness) of a family member, only to find out that things are not what they seem at said school. She meets a handsome boy with a dark mysterious past. Somehow all the secrets (of the school and the boy) are linked to her past, and most likely also linked to the dead (or sick) family member.

Even though the plot is a far cry from original it could have been saved with good characterization and writing. This is where it falls short. Now, firstly let me explain: I don’t have the best skills in determining the writing in a book. Usually it goes something like this: “Wow this is something I know I could never achieve myself = great writing” or “Hmm this is something I could have written myself = pretty bad writing”.

This book however (and take into account folks that I am not a writer nor an English native speaker), I could have written better had I tried it myself. It was that bad!! Some phrases had me literally cringing. Not once did I feel it transported me into the story, rather, the writing made me detach from the story as I couldn’t help but notice how awkwardly some sentences were put together.

On top of this, the characters were one-dimensional cut-out from cardboard, with one personality trait each, if even that. I had no interest whatsoever in Evie, the heroine as she had no personality. Her so-called epic romance with the mysterious Sebastian could not hold my attention either. Their romance was all telling and no showing. They were supposedly so in love, yet I didn’t feel it anywhere, not even the slightest.

Also, it didn’t help that I knew where the story was heading as early as a third into the book – no surprises there. Needless to say, I had a hard time finishing this book. In fact, I didn’t. I quit with only a few chapters left. That, if anything, is saying something about how badly executed it was.

If you want to read a similar book, but better accomplished in terms of writing, read “A Great and Terrible Beauty” by Libba Bray. But whatever you do, don’t waste your time on this one. There are so many much better books out there.

11/23/11

Review: The Forrest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Series: Forrest of Hands and Teeth, book #1

Published: July 2009

Publisher: Gollancz

Details: Paperback, 310 pages

My Rating: 3/5

My Summary:

About Mary who lives in a village surrounded by a fence to keep out the zombies that populate the forest. One day there is a breech in the fence and she and a few others manage to escape. Ryan has created a cruel and fascinating dystopian world. Unfortunately too much time is taken up by Mary’s inconsistent and whiny thoughts. All in all, ok but not great. There is a sequel.

A few chapters in:

I heard somewhere that zombies are the new vampires. I don’t know if that’s true, it remains to be seen. What I do know, is that I have never read a YA fiction before involving zombies. That alone made me curious about this book. I am now only a few chapters in, and it has grabbed my attention.

Mary lives in a village in the middle of a forest. Nothing unusual about that, except for the fact that their village is closed in by a high metal fence in order to keep out the zombies (or the Unconsecrated as they are called) who populate the forest. Once in a while, a human gets too close to the fence and is bitten by the zombies, thus turning into one of them. At the start of the book, this very thing happens to the mother of the Mary. She lost her father to the zombies only months previously, and now finds herself all alone, but for a brother who doesn’t want to have anything to do with her.

She seeks refuge with the Sisters, a religious group of women – who are also the rulers of the village. This is as far as I’ve got but I am intrigued by the original plot. Let’s see what happens next..

After finishing the book:

Ok, so I finished the book last night. What did I think?

Well, it started out great and I was really intrigued by the premise of Mary discovering secrets within the sisterhood – the rulers of her village – in the middle of the forest of unconsecrated. There were indeed secrets – the sisterhood was withholding the truth from the villagers, and I got really eager to find out what truth exactly?

But then, instead of exploring that route, we are treated to all of Mary’s thoughts regarding the brothers Harry and Travis and how she is not happy about the way events have unfolded between the three of them. Usually, I am a fan of romance, but in this particular book I found that it bothered me. As if I wanted to shout – get a grip! – to Mary. She was under constant threat, one way or the other throughout the whole book and it felt as if all she cared about was who she had been bound to marry before everything happened – and how terrible it was that it had not been the right guy.You’d think that things like that would lose its importance once your whole world crumbles to pieces? I mean who cares if you were marrying the wrong guy – it’s not happening now anyway because the world as you know it has dissappeared. Now please quit pondering the past and get yourself and your friends saved from the immediate danger happening right now!

So no, I couldn’t relate to her – and not being emotionally invested in her made me lose some interest in the book. Unfortunately.

Because it is a fascinating world Ryan has created, cruel and fascinating. She is certainly not taking the safe road – a happy ending approach. It really does feel quite realistic (as far as realism goes in a world of zombies). Some very bad things happen throughout their journey – so terrible it was hard to read at times – the harshness of it all – the heart-breaking decisions they have to make. By the end of the book you will be craving for some light – some warmth. And that may happen. The ending was interesting and definitely made me want to check out the sequel.

The Bottom Line:

The only problem is that the sequel is sure to continue via the thoughts of Mary, and being as little invested as I am in her, I wonder if it is worth my time. I can only hope she grows. Sequel is called The Dead-Tossed Waves.

11/22/11

Review: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Series: No, stand-alone.

Published: Aug 2011 (Originally 1813)

Publisher: Michael O'Mara

Details: 416 pages

My Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

Spirited, intelligent Elizabeth Bennet is alternately enchanted and affronted by Mr. Darcy. She is quick to suspend her usual, more rational judgment when it comes to him. She also is quick to believe the worst gossip about this haughty, opinionated man, who soon manages to alienate Elizabeth and her family. But is the condescending air that Mr. Darcy wars an indication of his real character? Or has Elizabeth’s pride gotten in the way of her chance for true romance?

My thoughts:

So I finally got to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have been meaning to for quite some time, ever since I watched the movie adaptation in 2005, and the brilliant BBC series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I was eager to read the book since I assumed there would be more to it, more details and dialogues to the story than shown in the movie and the series. Such is usually the case with any on-screen adaptation, that due to time limits scenes are cut from the book.

Therefore, it surprised me to find out that the whole story had been captured so well in the BBC series. In fact, almost every scene in the book is included. So for someone like me, who knew the BBC series by heart, it felt as if I was simply reading the script of the series. Of course, I still love the story, and so I enjoyed reading the book. But I can’t help thinking that I enjoyed the BBC series more. To me, the series felt more alive and passionate than the actual book, mainly due to the amazing actors. This certainly doesn’t happen often. I generally like the books more than the on-screen adaptations. One explaination may be the old-fashioned English, which I did struggle with throughout the book, but mostly it was, like I said, because the book did not add much to the story if compared to the series.

So, all though I love the story and I acknowledge the fact that this book is 200 years old yet still among the top romantic novels of modern time, it didn’t capture me completely. That being said, it is still a good read.

11/21/11

Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Series: Perfect Chemistry, book #2

Published: April 27th 2010

Publisher: Walker & Company

Details: Paperback, 324 pages

My rating: 3/5

My Summary:

Sequel to Perfect Chemistry which I loved!!! Following Carlos, the brother of Alex, who after some troubles moves into a professor’s house, where he meets the daughter Kiara. This book follows same plotline as Perfect Chemistry, but does not live up to the same standard. Good fun read but not fantastic.

My Full Review:

This is the sequel of Perfect Chemistry, following Carlos Fuentes, the little brother of Alex. Perfect Chemistry blew me away, with characters so alive and real that I kept thinking about them long after I turned the last page. So I can’t deny my expectations were pretty high when I started reading this sequel.

Ever since the traumatic end of Perfect Chemistry, Carlos, his little brother and his mom have been living in Mexico. Following some troubles at Carlos work in Mexico, he is sent to stay with his brother Alex in Colorado and go to school there. It doesn’t take long until he ends up into more trouble as a drug lord sets him up and he gets caught with drugs. Alex arranges for Carlos to stay at a his former professor’s home with his family to keep him out of jail. Kiara is the professor’s daughter who also happens to go to the same school as Carlos. They get off on the wrong foot at first but soon the attraction starts to grow.

Well, what can I say. Maybe if I hadn’t read Perfect Chemistry I would have loved this book. I couldn’t help but think that it was trying to be a new Perfect Chemistry but didn’t succeed. It’s still a fun easy read, but it didn’t touch me the way Perfect Chemistry did.

First of all I think it was because Carlos was so similar to Alex, that it felt as if I was reading about Alex again. Yet, while I totally understood where Alex came from and why he felt the need to shield himself from the world, as he had a bad-ass reputation to protect and was a member of the Latin Bloods in the area, I didn’t understand it with Carlos. He was plain rude and arrogant most of the time and I couldn’t grasp why he felt the need to be that way. Insecurities sure, and feelings of not belonging maybe, but it was not as clear to me as it was with Alex.

Kiara was a sweet girl but in my opinion a bit bland. Apart from her tomboy persona and her stuttering there was not much else that made her stand out. Brittany in Perfect Chemistry had a more complex and interesting persona, what with being miss popular who carried a family secret.

The attraction between Kiara and Carlos was well portrayed and steamy at places but I felt it came from out of nowhere. One moment they were bickering at each other and the next they were having an almost-kiss. In Perfect Chemistry I understood their mutual attraction better as both Alex and Brittany let each other in, revealing secrets they hadn’t told anyone about. That didn’t happen here and so it wasn’t clear to me why they felt drawn to each other. They suddenly just were.

Finally the climax at the end felt a bit forced, as if it was thrown in just for the sake of some action. In Perfect Chemistry it has more of a natural flow as if the whole story is leading that way, towards the climax. In Rules of attraction, not only did the gang member plot feel a bit forced, it also felt too unrealistic what with the professor helping out the way he did, putting himself in danger for the sake of Carlos who he has known barely a couple of months. It just felt a bit too “cookie butter sweet” for me. I love a happy ending but there are limits (even for me) to how cheesy it can be.

The Bottom Line:

So, final verdict? Well, having read Perfect Chemistry it is impossible not to compare it with that book as they are so similar plotwise. And I’m sorry to say Rules of Attraction does not come up to the same level. That being said, I still enjoyed reading it, and boy did I read it fast. So it is an easy fun yet somewhat fluffy read. But it’s not a book that will blow you away. A third book in the series has been released following the youngest Fuentes brother Luis, which I plan to read. My expections however have now been lowered as I expect a similar read there.

11/20/11

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Series: Paranormalcy, book #1

Published: August 31st 2010

Publisher: HarperTeen

Details: Hardcover, 352 pages

My Rating: 4/5

My Summary:

Anticipated debut about Evie, who works for the IPCA, an agency which controls paranormal creatures in the world. She meets shapeshifter Lend and things spiral out of control. Great light, quirky and funny read, a nice contrast to the other doom-and-gloom epic paranormal romances out there. Very enjoyable read!

My Full Review:

A lot of hype surrounded this debut, which has earned praise from authors such as Lisa McMann and Becca Fitzpatrick, and a whole lot of rave reviews at the book blogs. Needless to say, I was really happy to finally get hold of a copy!

The heroine Evie is working for IPCA, the International Paranormal Containment Agency which is an organization aiming to monitor and control the paranormal creatures of the world. You could think of it as similar to the organisation in Men in Black, although they of course monitored aliens. Evie is useful to the IPCA as she can see through all kinds of glamour that paranormal creatures use to blend into the human world.

She is an orphan and has been living with and working for the agency practically her whole life. Her best friend is a mermaid who works there as a secretary and her boss Raquel is kind of her substitute mom. Oh, and there is Reth, her ex-boyfriend who also happens to be a fairy.

Yep, Evie is not the most normal teen out there. Yet normal is what she craves. She wants other teenagers (humans!) to hang out with, a highschool to go to (with lockers!), a driving license and boys to flirt with. Instead, she regularly escapes into her beloved tv-series Easton Heights for a dose of (what she thinks is) ordinary teenage life.

Still, she doesn’t reflect too much upon these issues until things change. A mysterious unknown creature called Lend breaks into the agency and is caught and detained at the IPCA quarters. Lend is a shape-shifter who can take on almost any form. Evie, not surprisingly, is the only one who can see through his various glamours to his real form.

Lonely as she is, and curious by nature, she starts a habit of visiting Lend in his prison cell. Soon they develop a crush on each other. Triggered by Lend, she starts questioning things in her life she had never thought about before. It turns out everything is not what they seem. Meanwhile, something is killing paranormal creatures and the agency is getting worried. Somehow this is all linked to Evie and her past.

My thoughts:

First of all, I was surprised to find that the tone of the book is light. The heroine Evie is explaining everything in a jokingly kind of way, as if not really taking it that seriously. It starts already in the opening scene where she makes fun of a vampire who is about to kill her.

“Oh, stop pouting. But, really, the widow’s peak? The pale skin? The black cape? Where did you even get that thing, a costume store?”

It is definitely refreshing to find a light tone in the narrator’s voice, a nice contrast to all the doomed, epic, dark, haunting and angst-ridden paranormal love stories I’ve read in the last year. I was expecting a darker tone though so it took me a couple of chapters to get used to Evie’s jokes. At first they felt forced, but eventually I warmed up to her bubbly, quirky personality and found myself chuckle out loud a couple of times.

Likewise it took me a couple of chapters to get used to the world White has created. There is a lot of info thrown at you at first. The whole idea behind the IPCA has to be explained, as well as Evie’s role in there and of course every paranormal creature you may have ever heard about is present in this book, so that has to be included too. I felt a bit like I did when I started reading City of Bones, like there was so much world-building going on I found myself detaching from the plot. It didn’t last long though. Once you get used to the idea of all that paranormal activity going on at the same time, it becomes easier to focus on the plot again, and get sucked into the story.

Once I did get into the story, I got into it fast. I loved so many aspects of it. The characters felt multi-dimensional and real . It’s easy to warm up to the heroine, who is strong and insecure at the same time. She’s bubbly with life and says what she thinks, yet she is also insecure and is struggling with loneliness and a feeling of not belonging anywhere. The growing bond between her and Lend is believable. They are honest and straight-forward to each other right from the start. Of course she is the only one who has ever seen Lend for what he really is – which yes, may sound cliché, but actually warmed my heart!

I was equally intrigued by the mystery surrounding the plot. Reth, the fairy seems bent on taking Evie’s heart but what are his intentions? What is the role of the IPCA? What is the creature who is taking out paranormals? And how is Evie’s past linked to all of this?

While alternating between all these plotlines and the growing relationship between Evie and Lend, there was not one boring moment. I was literally glued to the pages until the very end. The ending left me pretty satisfied, all though some questions were left unanswered. I am still wondering about the role Reth played.

One minor dissapointment though was the climax at the end, which I thought was solved too easily, and without being properly explained. Sorry to be talking in riddles but I want to avoid spoilers. For now, all I’ll say is that I was wondering about the logic behind one particular action, attempted and not carried through, by the villain. It didn’t make sense to me.

The Bottom Line:

Despite those question marks, it was still a very entertaining read. Kudos to White for creating such a fun refreshing new take on the young adult paranormal genre! (Something which is quite an accomplishment in the crowded ya paranormal market). I can’t wait to dive into this paranormal world again. The next book is called Supernaturally.

11/19/11

Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Series: Study, book #1

Published: March 1st 2004

Publisher: Luna

Details: Paperback, 416 pages

My Rating: 5/5

My Summary:

About Yelena, awaiting execution for a murder she comitted in miltary state Ixia. Instead of execution though, she is offered a place as the Commander’s food taster, thus her new life begins. This novel was so good on so many levels, it blew me away!!!A must read!!!! Sequel called Magic Study.


A few chapters in:

This is the highly acclaimed first book in the Study Trilogy. I have been wanting to read it for quite some time. I’m glad to finally have started, as it seems just as good as I thought it would be.

At the start of the book we find Yelena, the heroine, imprisoned and chained to a wall in a dungeon, awaiting the execution for a murder she committed a year previously. She is taken up for what she thinks is the execution, then learns that she is given the choice to instead become the new food taster of the commander. Naturally she accepts and her food taster career begins, meaning she has to learn to recognize and differentiate various poisons. Her trainer Valek is an expert, and he seems to be taking her under his wings, all though I am not yet sure of his intentions. He doesn’t seem like the most empathetic person out there. It remains to be seen.

I’m only a few chapters in, and let me tell you, I am really invested into the story already. It’s well written, it’s intriguing, it’s original. Let’s hope it continues that way!

After finishing the book:

Wow, I have one word for this book..AMAZING. I was addicted right from the start, yet managed to read the first 100 pages or so in a somewhat normal pace. After that, there was no stopping me and I read the rest in one sitting. Went to bed that night at around 4 am. Yes, this is addicting stuff.

It’s been a few days now since I finished the book, and I’m still thinking about it, so much in fact that I have a hard time getting into a new book. Did I say it was addicting?

Right, so no more rambling and let’s get on with the review.

As stated above, this is about Yelena who at the start of the book finds herself being the new food taster for the commander. The commander is the head general of Ixia, a land used to be ruled by royalty, but who’s king was overthrown by the military regimen. The new Ixia has been divided into several military districts and is controlled in a way similar to a communist military dictatorship. Everyone has equal rights (including men and women), and only your skills and achievements count, rather than you heritage or wealth. It is also very controlled. Any changes, such as location, profession etc need approval from higher authorities.

This whole world-building was an interesting back-drop to the story. It is acknowledged that the military system is not perfect, but neither was the King’s rulership. Snyder does not push you to think that way or the other – it’s just described as the way it is.

Yelena was charged for murdering her benefactor Reyad, at the child orphanage where she grew up. Little by little we get glimpses to the events that led her to murdering Reyad, and those events are truly horrible. I loved though that Yelena stands up for what she has done. She takes the consequences without excuses, and does not want pity. She did what she had to do, end of story. She wonders if she lost her soul though and she is faced with guilt – she’s only human – but I admire her strength on accepting her faith.

For most part of the story Yelena faces many dangers, the food taster’s profession being only one of them. General Brazell, whose son she murdered is bent on revenge, and consistently tries to inflict her harm. A strange woman from the neighbouring country Sitia is also after her. And there is Margg, the unfriendly house-keeper and Nix, a guard who seems to hate her.

Then there is Valek, her trainer in food poising and a Rand in the kitchen. Who can she trust? For most part of the book, I’m wondering along with Yelena who she should and should not trust. Because if she trusts the wrong person, that may mean the end.

After several near fatal attacks, Yelena herself realizes that one way to keep herself safe is to start training and learning self-defense. She finds two friends in the guards – the wonderfully drawn secondary characters Ari and Janco – and together they teach each other tactics on the art of self-defense.

In short, the mixture of what I just described is what I loved. That is; the world-building, the developement of Yelena as she grows stronger, the constant dangers she’s under, the glimpses we get of her life before the murder, and the new friends (or enemies) she gains at the castle. There is not one boring moment in this story, hence the page-turner effect.

Of all this, what I loved the most though was Valek and his growing affection for Yelena. It is so subtle at the beginning I was wondering if I felt it right. Valek is supposed to be Yelena’s enemy. He is the one poisoning her with Butterfly’s Dust to prevent her from escaping. Yet, early on, he seems preoccupied with her welfare. After Yelena is attacked by one of general Brazell’s guards, he lets her move into his suite. He saves her life during another attack at the fire festival, and he has great faith in her abilities.

Yet, I am never sure of his intentions, whether she is a brick in the grander scheme of his plans or if there may be feelings involved. After all, Valek is a cold-blooded dangerous man. He is the commander’s right hand, the head of the regimens intelligence network and not to forget also a professional assassin. In short, not the normal romantic love interest you may find in young adult fiction.

Without saying too much, their relationship however does grow into something eventually and it is one of the most believable, genuine and sweetest things I have read in some time. Absolutely wonderful!!!

The Bottom Line:

There are two more books in the series. Magic Study is the sequel. I have heard that the series decline after Poison Study, whether that is true or not remains to be seen. I will have to read the rest, as I need to revisit this world again. Need as in addicted need!

In short, what a wonderful book. If you haven’t read it yet, do it now! You won’t regret it!!!

11/18/11

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Series: Darkest Powers, book # 1

Published: July 1st 2008

Publisher: HarperTeen

Details: Hardcover, 390 pages

My rating: 4/5

My Summary:

YA trilogy from author of Bitten. About a girl who sees ghosts, is labeled schizophrenic and sent to a home, where she meets the two mysterious brothers Derek & Simon. I’m surprised to see how good this was, considering my view of Bitten. Well paced & exciting. The only downside was the cliff-hanger ending. Make sure to have sequel The Awakening when you finish.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few chapters in:

After some hesitation I decided to check out Kelley Armstrong’s young adult trilogy The Darkest Powers. As you may know if you’ve been on this site, I’m not a big fan of Kelley Armstrong since I read (or tried to read) one of her books in her adult series Women of the Otherworld. To me that book belonged among Harlequin novels of the worst kind – poorly written and plain trashy.

Armstrong’s young adult work however has received great reviews, and it deals with a different theme than in the adult series. So I decided to give this author one more try.

I’m now halfway through, and I’m wondering if this really is the same author as in Bitten, because seriously – this is pretty good. The plot moves along in a nice logical pace and I like the voice of the heroine – thoughtful but not whiny. And the writing – what an improvement from Bitten!

The story revolves around Chloe, who is a normal 15-year old girl, except for the fact that she sees ghosts. It obviously freaks her out, and after one particularly bad episode seeing a ghost at her school she is taken away to a home for troubled teenagers. The doctors label her schizophrenic, and Chloe seems about to agree , because how can she possibly know for a fact she is seeing ghosts and not hallucinations conjured up by her own mind? Still, she wants to make sure and starts investigating..

She shares the home with a few other kids as well, among them the two brothers Simon and Derek, who both seem to have something to hide. I have no idea yet what that might be, just that there is definitely more to them than we know now.

Let’s see what happens..

After finishing the book:

I finished it last night and wow, I have to say I’m surprised at how sucked into the story I got. I still can’t believe it’s by the same author as Bitten, how is that possible?

The overall premise reminded me a bit of Fallen. A teen girl experiences supernatural events which leads people to believe she’s crazy. She’s sent to a school or home for troubled kids, only to realize that there is something more to that school and the kids within it, than meets the eye. Something more as in supernatural.

Only, where Fallen failed to keep up my interest, The Summoning more than well succeeded. In Fallen, very little action takes place which made it a bit boring to read, and I didn’t feel why Luce should be so interested in Daniel, or Cam for that matter. The book was all telling and little showing. The pointers about what supernatural elements were at play were too obvious to the reader, and Luce the protagonist struggled for too long to figure them out.

In The Summoning, the pace is brilliantly set. It feels as if the protagonist and the reader are realizing things at the same time, which is refreshing. I never felt bored wondering when the heroine was going to make a realization that I had made many pages ago. I also liked the fact that Chloe isn’t walking around pondering which guys like her and if they don’t, why not etc. It’s not like that at all. She has her priorities set straight, as she tells the brother Derek in one scene in the book. She states that at this confusing time of her life, what with seeing ghosts and all, getting a boyfriend is about the last item on her priority list. Kudos to that statement!

That being said, there may be romance, somewhere along the line, all though it doesn’t happen in this book. I know I am certainly rooting for one of the brothers, and that may be where the story is heading. At first, this particular brother doesn’t seem very likable at all. Then he and Chloe experience a few things together – where his real personality shines through, and Chloe shows him that she can stand up to him, despite his menacing ways. More importantly, she shows him that she sees him, the real him. This is a great case of showing, not telling, because I could feel a reluctant fondness growing between them. Please Armstrong, let that continue in the sequel!

The Bottom Line:

There is really only one flaw with this first installment, and that is the ending. It ends with a cliff-hanger – a real one, so that it feels as if the author cut one book into two, at a place where you’ll be dying to know what happens next. You’d really want to have acquired the sequel The Awakening before you start with The Summoning. Otherwise, the ending was definitely surprising – I did not see that coming, and I still haven’t figured out what’s going on. I only have a feeling that it will be an exciting ride to follow Chloe and her friends in the sequel, while they discover their powers in this new supernatural world – hopefully tying some of the loose ends together in the process.

So would I recommend The Summoning?

Yes absolutely, this was a great addictive read. I am so happy I gave Kelley Armstrong another try!

11/16/11

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Series: Vampire Academy, book #1

Published: August 16th 2007

Publisher: Razorbill

Details: Paperback, 332 pages

My Rating: 3/5

My Summary:

Vampire series with 6 books out. About Rose and her best friend Lissa. The plot centers around their high school life at Vampire Academy, with intrigues, revenge, gossip & face rank politics. Quick easy read, but not great- too much gossip girl a la vampire for me, but may develop into an intriguing plot in future books. Sequel called Frostbite.

A few chapters in:

There are many vampire series currently out there on the market, partly or mostly due to the enormous success of the Twilight Series. Hence, I’ve been a bit sceptical towards most of them, wondering if they are pure rip-offs or if they actually have something to offer. After reading quite a few reviews however, I realized that Vampire Academy seems to stand on its own, and have gathered its own little following (not so little by the way, only if compared to Twilight). So I decided to give it a go. The series consists of a total of 6 books, all released.

So I’m half-way through. It starts with Rose and her best friend Lissa getting caught on the run, and brought back to the Vampire Academy where Lissa, who is a royal vampire Moroi princess is to attend her education. Rose is a Dhampir, essentially the body-guard of Lissa, sworn to protect the race of the Moroi vampires her entire life. The Moroi vampires need constant protection since the Strigoi vampires – the undead immortal evil vampires, are constantly on the hunt for Moroi blood.

Are you lost? Well, that is all there is in terms of world-bulding (so far that is), and as soon as these two, Rose and Lissa, arrive to the Vampire Academy, the somewhat ordinary life begins dealing with high school issues such as socializing with the right crowd, face ranks politics, avoiding that one school bitch, dealing with humiliating gossip, having crushes on guys, breaking all sorts of schools rules etc. Essentially a Gossip Girl with vampires.

Rose is a sexy, sassy girl, with a witty mouth and a temperament. Lisa is the opposite, kind, cautious and quiet. At the moment I’m feeling that Rose is bit too much into herself and Lissa, oblivious to the feelings of people of the outer world, and I wish she could be a bit more tolerant and humble. Let’s hope for development there.

There is Dimitri as well, who is Lissa’s guardian, and also the personal trainer of Rose. He seems like a fascinating character, all though so quiet that it’s hard to get an impression of him. Hoping for more there as well.

Let’s see how it plays out..

After finishing the book:

I’ve already finished it, in just two days. Very easy and quick read. Not the greatest book, and not something I’d lose sleep over. It has a good premise for a series though, and I can see myself getting more attached to the characters the more I read.

However, it was a bit too teen for me to really love. The plot centered around too much highschool drama and gossip, to make me glued to the pages. I also found it hard sometimes to relate to the heroine Rose with her over-confident and flirtatious nature.

Christian and Dmitri both intrigued me though, and I look forward to see where the story will take them. Dmitri is this silent hero, who always seems to emerge whenever anyone needs help, Rose in particulary. I’d still like him to talk more and reveal things about himself. There may be time for that though, in future books. Christian is a complex character given his troubled past, which made him that much more interesting. I rooted for him pretty much immediately.

A pleasant surprise was the ending and how most loose ends were actually tied together. We get explanations for almost everything we’ve been wondering about, and there’s no cliff-hanger, like in so many other YA series. Kudos to Mead for that!

The Bottom Line:

I can very much see a continuation, what with Rose and Lissa’s bond, the villain who is still alive, and all the other complications involving Lissa’s abilities. I just hope that the next book will incorporate more of the outer vampire world Mead has created rather than highschool gossip within the walls of the Vampire Academy.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, even though it is not nearly as addictive as Twilight, it’s still a good, fun and light read!

11/15/11

Review: Zorro by Isabel Allende

Series: No, stand-alone

Published: 03 May 2005

Publisher:
Harper Collins

Details: Hardcover, 400 pages

My Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

A swashbuckling adventure story that reveals for the first time how Diego de la Vega became the masked man we all know so well.

Born in southern California late in the eighteenth century, he is a child of two worlds. Diego de la Vega’s father is an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner; his mother, a Shoshone warrior. Diego learns from his maternal grandmother, White Owl, the ways of her tribe while receiving from his father lessons in the art of fencing and in cattle branding. It is here, during Diego’s childhood, filled with mischief and adventure, that he witnesses the brutal injustices dealt Native Americans by European settlers and first feels the inner conflict of his heritage.

At the age of sixteen, Diego is sent to Barcelona for a European education. In a country chafing under the corruption of Napoleonic rule, Diego follows the example of his celebrated fencing master and joins La Justicia, a secret underground resistance movement devoted to helping the powerless and the poor. With this tumultuous period as a backdrop, Diego falls in love, saves the persecuted, and confronts for the first time a great rival who emerges from the world of privilege.

Between California and Barcelona, the New World and the Old, the persona of Zorro is formed, a great hero is born , and the legend begins. After many adventures – duels at dawn, fierce battles with pirates at sea, and impossible rescues – Diego de la Vega, a.k.a. Zorro, returns to America to reclaim the hacienda on which he was raised and to seek justice for all who cannot fight for it themselves.

My thoughts:

I am a big fan of Isabel Allende and I have read and adored most of her books. This one however I found slightly disappointing and I’ll try to explain the reasons why.

Even though the story, as promised in the summary, delivered action, romance and vivid descriptions of an adventurous story set in the 17th century, the story never truly engaged me. Even as the ending drew closer, at 40 pages left, I had no problems letting go of the book for a day or two before continuing. Now that is not a good sign.

In order for me to get engaged with a book which essentially means rapidly turning pages is when I’m dying to know what is going to happen to the characters of the book. And here is where I found it lacking, the character development. Zorro in particular, being the main character, felt one-dimensional and as such never truly real. It was as if this character was drawn with broad brush strokes, his personality traits being brave, sly, loyal etc but all the smaller details being missed out. Without these details, which would have helped making the character more complex, thus real and human, I never found myself connected to Zorro. What I would have liked to have known was his thoughts and feelings throughout the book, any hesitations, fears, sorrows he might have felt during any of his many adventures.

As it was now, I never truly cared what was going to happen to him, or any other of the characters of the book. It is however an OK read, more so for the adventures they accounter along the way which will keep you enough interested to keep moving through the book, but it is certainly not a must-read.

11/14/11

Review: Captivate by Carrie Jones

Series: Need, book #2

Published: January 5th 2010

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Details: Hardcover, 273 pages

My rating: 3/5

My Summary:

Sequel to Need. The pixie hunt continues, and the new pixie character Astley is introduced which causes Zara to doubt if all pixies are evil, also creating a love triangle. Ending with a cliff hanger. While I loved Need, I found this book less great, with logical gaps and preteen language. Still enjoyable. Third book is called Entice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few chapters in:

I loved the first book Need, so I’m loving diving into the pixie world of Zara and Nick again.

This book takes off where the first one ended. All the pixies are imprisoned in their house and Zara and her friends are patrolling the woods. One day, Zara happens across a wounded pixie guy. She saves him only to realize afterwards that he was a pixie king from far away. Has he come to take over the kingdom of her father? Moreover, he seems nice and he is confusing Zara. Are all pixies really evil?

The others, and especially Nick don’t seem to share the same concern over the welfare of the pixies. They think pixies are evil, period. Meanwhile we are getting glimpses of the bigger world of pixies. And what is the deal with Zara not feeling quite right. Is her pixie blood affecting her in some strange way?

This is how far I’ve got, but I’m very invested into the story already, and I’m pondering the same questions as Zara, are all pixies really evil? The story is promising so far. Let’s see how it plays out..

After finishing the book:

I finished the book last night and I’m sorry to say I was not as overwhelmed as I was after reading Need. The great characters that were introduced in Need never developed into anything more, rather they felt slightly underdeveloped in this book. For some reason I also felt the language in this book to be more preteen than teen, as if it had gone slightly more immature than in the prequel.

I did however like the new character Astley, which is introduced midway through the book. He added a new dimension to the plot, both in the form of a possible love triangle and the fact that he may (or may not) be something as unusual as a good pixie. I loved reading the sections where he was involved.

We are also introduced to some of the world building of the weres and the pixies but only bits and pieces, so that nothing really makes any sense. I think I would have liked some loose ends to get tied up, something more solid to build upon. It all felt so vague, the whole reason for a looming pixie war. What are the forces behind it? What are the roles of the weres? Why is it happening now? Not much is explained, and what is explained doesn’t make much sense. I am curious though to see if it will redeem itself in the third book Entice.

The Bottom Line:

Finally, do I recommend Captivate?

Yes absolutely, it is still very much an entertaining read, especially if you are invested into the characters after Need

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